Three quad building moves that should be in every bodybuilder's leg workout.
Watch Nathan get a new PR on the Hack Squat!
Nathan Epler's Hamstring & Calves Starters
Nathan begins this workout with two warm-up sets of calve raises, followed by two working sets. These working sets consist of 15 reps with 2-second holds at the top of the movement. Warming up your calves at the start of your workout will allow for improved ankle mobility, which will benefit Nathan to propel upwards in his Hack squat.
Leg Curl Variation
Moving onto the seated hamstring curl, Nathan prefers to alternate his leg curl movement each week on his quad-focused days (between lying and seated.) You may like the seated leg curl variation if it is uncomfortable for you to be in a prone position or if you have lower back or neck pain. One hamstring movement will allow your further Quad movements more benefit and reduce the risk of injury as the muscles will have now been activated for a workout.
Today, Nathan uses the seated leg curl and begins with two warm-up sets of 12-15 reps before completing a top set of a rest-pause set. Rest-pause training is a technique that helps fatigue the muscle fibers and help break through growth plateaus. The technique breaks up the set into individual ‘mini-sets.’ These mini-sets will have 5-15 second rests between each mini-set. Nathan completes 12 heavy load reps, waiting 10 seconds and then completing another four reps. After a further 5 seconds, he completes his final four reps.
Nathan Epler’s Four Staple Quad Builders
This exercise isolates the quads and strengthens key attachments for the knee joint at the same time. Nathan begins his quad-focused movements with two rounds of warm-up sets. These sets are between 15-20 reps, as Nathan likes to use high reps for this exercise to get as much blood into the quads as possible and warm up the knees. This will benefit him in his later movements in this workout.
Nathan chooses the Rest-pause technique again for his top set. When performing this exercise, focus on the squeeze at the top of the movement.
Nathan is now prepped for his compound movement of the day and begins with some touch-and-go sets to loosen the legs back up. Staring with three plates per side, he progresses his load onto seven plates a side with the touch and go technique. This allows you to save your energy for your working set on the most beneficial weight.
Nathan's top set at eight plates a side is a 14 repper. A new PR!
To back off this movement, Nathan completes negatives with close footing. His feet are placed close together, and the focus of the movement is the speed going down.
Ensure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and not too high on the footplate when performing this exercise. This will make sure you are squatting through your heels and not the balls of your feet. Slowly squat down and allow your knees to reach a 90-degree bend before propelling back up through your heels.
Nathan’s next exercise is the Leg Press. He enjoys this piece of equipment as he can place his feet lower on the platform to target the quads better. He begins with a seven plate a side set to feel the weight before adjusting the load and working towards his top set 20 reps.
Nathan's final set on this machine is until failure, doing this trains the highest possible number of muscle fibers.
With the compound movements completed, Nathan finishes off his quad-focused movements with walking bodyweight lunges. When executing this exercise, Nathan pulses at the bottom of the movement.
When performing lunges, keep tension on your legs throughout the entire exercise. Do not fully stand up from the lunge position until you have completed your set; only rise around 3/4 of the way up to allow you to move into your next rep of the walking lunge.
To complete his workout, Nathan favors this particular method for his adductors. He performs two sets of 20, with a 5-second hold after every five reps. To set yourself up for this exercise, sit upright with your back against the pad and your spine neutral. Exhale and pull the legs together, squeezing the pads inward without engaging your upper body for assistance. Once the pads are near touching, hold this position before slowly returning to the start.